It’s been said that a skilled bicycle wheel builder is an artisan who transforms individual components into a meticulously-crafted and precisely-balanced masterpiece. That line could certainly be applied to Reserve Master Wheelbuilder Evan Harry. Armed with knowledge of spoke tension and lacing patterns, Evan is able to weave, deftly, the combination of spokes, nipples, rims and hub into a symphony of tension and tight tolerances, ensuring strength and durability. The result is not merely a functional wheel, but a work of art that enhances a cyclist's experience, providing a smooth and responsive ride that will stay truer for longer.
Evan’s life doesn’t revolve singularly around building wheels. Like most of the Reserve Wheelbuilders, Evan has a life beyond the spoke wrenches, tension meters and quality metrics. We recently sat down with Evan to find out more about his approach to work, life and cycling.
Q) What’s your hometown?
A) I grew up in Antelope, CA., a sleepy Sacramento suburb.
Do you have a nickname? If yes, how’d you get it? If not, make one up that suits your character.
Kevin, KoolKev, KevBo. When I first started working here at Reserve a few people thought my name was Kevin, I was like “Yeah, Evan is short for Kevin.”
How long have you been at Reserve?
Just short of 6 years.
How long have you been riding?
Did a lot of street bmx as a kid, started mountain biking about 10 years ago.
How long have you been building wheels?
Professionally, about 8 years.
How many wheels do you estimate you’ve built since you’ve been at Reserve?
By hand? Hundreds. Machine lacing and finishing? Tens of thousands probably.
What brought you to wheel building?
I was a little tired of the bike shop grind and wanted to see what factory-level work would be like. I had some wheel building experience and saw there was an opening in the Wheel Department so I applied.
Would you rather build a wheel by machine or by hand?
I think everyone who does this interview will say the same thing. Hand-Building babyyy! It’s satisfying being in total control of the build quality, it’s almost therapeutic.
Tell us something about wheel building that most people wouldn’t know.
There seems to be this stigma behind machine built wheels. I can’t speak for other companies, but here at Reserve, all of our machine-built wheels get a high level of scrutiny and are de-stressed completely just like a wheel made by hand.
What kind of riding do you typically do? Mountain, Gravel or Road?
What is your favorite trail or favorite place to ride?
UC Santa Cruz hwy 9 for after-work laps. I also frequent Fort Ord national monument for XC days.
Garage-check, what are you currently riding? Which wheels? Who built them?
Hightower 3 with hydras laced to carbon RSV 30 HD in the rear, carbon RSV 30 SL in the front. Megatower 2 with house-made i9 101 laced to ARC 30s. My favorite, though, would be my Chameleon 8 set up as a single speed ripper with DT350s laced to RSV AL SL 30s. I love the simplicity of a SS hardtail.
What occupies your time when you’re not building wheels?
Riding bikes, maintaining them, kicking it at home with my lady and our cats. I’m also really into motorsport simulators.
Beer, wine, cocktail or seltzer?
SRAM or Shimano?
Coffee, Tea or Red Bull?
Thick or thin grips?
I like ‘em thick
Burrito or hamburger or pizza?
RockShox or Fox?
Fox, although I have a RS Pike Ult on the chameleon that is super good.
Seinfeld, Friends or Rick & Morty?
KING OF THE HILL
i9 or DT Swiss?
Porque no los dos?
Puppies or kittens?
Describe your perfect day.
Any day when I don’t have to show up to work (Not that I don’t enjoy my job :D)
What is your special power?
I don’t know about special power, but I do make some mean Kimchi